By Walter Broeckx
A few changes compared to our last match of last year. Lihtsteiner drops to the bench and Koscielny comes in the team to play in a 3 man defense with Mustafi and Sokratis. Maitland-Niles and Kolasinac as wing backs. Torreira also drops to the bench after having played a lot recentely. Aubameyang and Lacazette together up front. Ramsey also on the beach.
Arsenal: Leno, Koscielny, Mustafi, Sokratis, Maitland-Niles, Xhaka, Guendouzi, Kolasinac, Iwobi, Aubameyang, Lacazette.
On the beach: Cech, Lichtsteiner, Elneny, Ramsey, Torreira, Saka, Nketiah.
I really wonder if the Flemish match commentator has read Untold today as he is literally quoting our match article! The match started with a minute of silence for our former chairman Hill-Wood who past away last week.
A first chance when Iwobi gives a cross to Aubameyang but he shot over the crossbar from close range but it was difficult to keep the ball down. Arsenal starting dominant but after a few minutes the tempo drops. Kolasinac with a rush and he forces a corner when he was outcrowded. Arsenal again going backwards most of the time even when they are high in the Fulham half of the field. Fulham showing how to attack quick but Sessegnon curled his shot wide of the post. 0-0 after 15 minutes.
Xhaka almost giving the ball away when we play in front of our own penalty area but Sokratis can block the attack. Schurrle with a teasing cross towards Sessegnon but he completely misses the ball in a promising position. Iwobi has the ball on the left flank and Xhaka makes a run in the penalty area. The cross from Iwobi finds Xhaka and a control and a simple shot from 6 meters out and the ball goes in. GOAL! 1-0 to The Arsenal after 25 minutes.
Schurrle with a dropping shot but still a few meters over the Arsenal goal. 1-0 after 30 minutes.
Mitrovic with a good header after an attack from Fulham but Leno with a good stop on the line. Iwobi finding Kolasinac who cuts back but the effort from Xhaka is stopped by a defender and the keeper with an ulitamate reflex. Sokratis of alll players with a great move on the left flank but his shot is blocked by a defender. Aubameyang with a good header after a cross from Iwobi but the ball just missed the goal. Lacazette coming in from the left flank but the keeper kept the ball out somehow for a corner. That almost resulted in another chance but Fulham could clear for another corner. Xhaka then down and needing treatment. Xhaka was attacking wise excellent but in his defensive work a few keep your breath moments. 1-0 after 45 minutes. We could have been more in front but Fulham could have scored a goal aswell.
Torreira entered the field and Mustafi stayed in the dressing room after half time. A change to a 4 man defensive line up. Mitrovic with a header after a corner but no problem for Leno. Fulham with the better start in the second half but a good attack over multiple players with good movement the ball ends up in front of Lacazette who makes no mistake. GOAL!! 2-0 to the Arsenal after 55 minutes. Aubameyang, Iwobi and Kolasinac with the assist all being involved in the build up.
Lacazette away but this time the keeper could stop the effort from the French striker. Still 2-0 after 60 minutes.
The Fulham keeper did just enough after a cross from Xhaka to keep the ball away from his goal. Lacazette gets caught by an arm in the face by a Fulham defender but of course this is Arsenal so no penalty. Mitrovic with a dangerous header but Leno was in the right place. Torreira being fouled but again the ref gives nothing and from the attack Camara can sore. 2-1 after 69 minutes. What is the matter with these refs? Oh we know of course… Another foul on Maitland-Niles and again not given???? Fulham gets a lot of confidence from being able to do what they want against the Arsenal players. After 74 minutes Lacazette came off and Ramsey came on. The crowd didn’t understand this change.
FosuMensah plants his studs on the foot of Xhaka and the ref gives a foul and only a yellow. At least he gave a foul… Kolasinac again with a good run and a good cross to Aubameyang who hit the post but the ball came back to Ramsey who put it in the net. GOAL!!! 3-1 to The Arsenal after 79 minutes.
Aubameyang on his way but the keeper stopped his attempted lob. After 82 minutes Saka came on for Iwobi. From the corner the ball ends up in front of Aubameyang and his shot was deflected over the keeper and went against the net. GOAL!!!! 4-1 to The Arsenal after 84 minutes. The assist from Sokratis.
The ref then again giving nothing when Torreira was fouled and then Torreira also used force but then a foul was called. A great combination almost found Maitland-Niles at the end but a last minute tackle resulted in a corner. Xhaka almost with another chance but the ball was cleared and the ref made an end to the match.
Arsenal win their first match of the new year with a comfortable 4-1 win. Our strikers scored and if it wouldn’t have been for another lenient performance from the ref we could have kept a clean sheet.
Well done The Arsenal and may I wish you all a great 2019!
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